The end of year is drawing near and what a year it has been, we will hear more in our album of the year posts that will be online next month. In the meantime, here is the last album of the month post of 2020. Here’s what our team members have picked.
Ashley: Blind Guardian – Nightfall In Middle Earth
Recent months haven’t been easy to say the least and some days I’ve been left feeling rather stagnant. There weren’t many things that could help me cope and I lost a lot of interest in music to be honest. I did discover some new albums but a gap was still there. Then a BLIND GUARDIAN live video of Mirror, Mirror pops up on my suggested videos on YouTube and I was like “Holy crap I haven’t listened to BLIND GUARDIAN in ages!”
It didn’t take long for me to dig the album out and give it some serious listening again. I forgot how many power metal classics are on this album. My personal favourite on the album is The Curse Of Feanor which I think it’s the greatest power metal song ever written. It has
everything from epic vocal harmonies and amazing guitar work. It makes me want to stand on a cliff facing the wind in my best battle pose raising a fist.
Other songs such as Nightfall, Time Stands Still and When Sorrow Sang are other honourable mentions. From start to finish the album tells of epic tales far and wide within the Tolkien universe. Even if you don’t like Lord Of The Rings, the album still holds it’s own against any other power metal band. It’s absolutely marvellous.
Find BLIND GUARDIAN on Facebook.
Lotty: Leaves’ Eyes – The Last Viking
Get ready to haul the long boats and charge into battle with my choice for album of the month. From the fist pumping Chain Of The Golden Horn to the beautiful sounds of Black Butterfly featuring VISIONS OF ATLANTIS vocalist Clémentine Delauney, LEAVES’ EYES latest tale The Last Viking is full of heroic anthems. The album came out a month ago and I have already lost count how many times I have listened to this. If you need to feel like Viking, here’s what you need to do; play this album at maximum volume, chug your favourite drink from your drinking horn and raise your swords high. You won’t regret it.
Find LEAVES’ EYES on Facebook.
Jacob: Diablo Swing Orchestra – The Butcher’s Ballroom
The Butcher’s Ballroom by DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA is fun, quirky and menacing. There are elements of metal, jazz and, well, diabolical swing. They’re a new find for me and I think that they’ll be getting plenty of plays in the future. Balrog Boogie turned up in a Spotify playlist by chance and I’m so glad that it did.
Find DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA on Facebook.
Martin: KISS – Destroyer
For my album of the month I have once again taken a step back in time and have been listening to my favourite album by my favourite band, this being Destroyer by KISS.
From the initial play of the album, you have the build up of a car crash with a snippet of Rock and Roll All Nite from their previous studio album Dressed to Kill featured, before sliding straight into a mainstay of the bands set list Detroit Rock City. This track features prominently in the bands set list and was the opening number of their End of the Road Tour which I was fortunate to have attended two dates of last year (Manchester and Newcastle). Lyrically I find it an uplifting track and always makes me smile “I feel so good, I feel so alive!” It has some wonderful solo work too courtesy of Spaceman Ace Frehley. This was released as a single on the 28th July 1976.
Another stand out track for me is God of Thunder. The original demo version (this version features on the KISS 40 compilation album) of this features Starchild Paul Stanley on lead vocals but this was changed in favour of the Demon Gene Simmons taking on lead vocals which works due to the dark demonic vibes held within: “I was raised by the demons” I had always wanted to see this track performed live in person as I had never witnessed this until seeing them last year.
Shout It Out Loud is another feel good anthem that features prominently in the bands live set. The band continue that feel good party-rock element that has served them so well in their career. There are several vocal exchanges between all four band members amidst harmonising sections “get the party started!”
The ballad Beth helped reinvigorate sales of the album to get to its platinum status. It also allowed further airplay of the single Detroit Rock City due to this track being its B-Side, before being released as a single in August 1976. (With the formerly mentioned song becoming it’s B-Side.) It is a stalwart ballad which features Catman Peter Criss on lead vocals and when he performed it live allowed him to come forward from behind the drumkit to sit centre stage.
Whilst I have detailed the “hits” from the album above, suffice to say each track is monumental in greatness and the album itself deserves repeat listens time and time again.
This is hands down my favourite album by the band and it was also my first KISS album purchase. From thereon I undoubtably experienced KISSMANIA! I have all of their albums in one format or another, avidly collect KISS Memorabilia, and to date have seen the band seven times in various locations.
If anyone ever asked me to suggest an album as an introduction to KISS, undoubtedly it has to be Destroyer.
Find KISS on Facebook.